Browsing the "Devonian" Category

The Devonian period is a division of earth’s history spanning from around 419 to 359 million years ago, and during which vertebrates became far more ecologically diverse. The Devonian is often called the age of fishes owing to their abundance and diversity during this period. The Early Devonian is characterised by the jawless armoured ostracoderm fish. Later, these were largely replaced by jawed fish such as placoderms, some of which reached over 9 meters in length and were the top predators of their day. The land was transformed by the evolution of the first forests. At the same time, lobe-finned fish began to evolve limbs, a rigid skeleton and increased air breathing capabilities, gradually leaving the water to become the first land-living vertebrates. The Devonian was a tectonically active period in which the continents began to drift together. It had a relatively warm climate and consequently the planet probably lacked ice caps. The end of the Devonian is marked by a mass extinction event.



Episode 58: Animal biomechanics

Published on January 15th, 2016 | by Liz Martin-Silverstone

One of the most difficult aspects of palaeontology is understanding how extinct animals moved around. It’s one thing to find a fossil and reconstruct it’s morphology, but it’s completely another to put that morphology into action [&hellip... Read More



Episode 40: Brachiopods

Published on February 1st, 2015 | by Dave Marshall

Brachiopods are some of the most common fossils to be found in rocks worldwide. Their thick, hard and (often) calcareous shells make them preferentially preserved in the fossil record. We probably all have found one, but [&hellip... Read More


36 Oxroadia detail

Episode 22: Fire and Charcoal

Published on October 15th, 2013 | by Dave Marshall

Most people would consider fire to be an entirely destructive process, however given the right circumstances organic materials can be exquisitely preserved by charcoalification. We no doubt all know charcoal from the BBQ, but how many of [&hellip... Read More



Episode 18: Trilobites

Published on July 1st, 2013 | by Dave Marshall

Trilobites are one of the most instantly recognisable groups of fossils. They were present from the very start of the Paleozoic and went on the fill a great number of ecological roles before going extinct at the Permo-Triassic [&hellip... Read More



Episode 17: Ammonoid evolution and ecology

Published on June 1st, 2013 | by Joe Keating

Ammonoids are a diverse group of cephalopods, a group of molluscs that include squid, octopuses, cuttlefish and nautiloids. They lived for over 300 million years (from the Early Devonian – the end Cretaceous) and survived multiple [&hellip... Read More


Alitta virens

Episode 12: Paleozoic Problematica

Published on February 15th, 2013 | by Dave Marshall

Fossils, at the best of times, are difficult to interpret. Palaeontologists attempt to reconstruct organisms from what little remains are left. This can be relatively simple for groups that we are familiar with today; you can [&hellip... Read More



Episode 6: Early vertebrate evolution and extinction

Published on November 1st, 2012 | by Dave Marshall

Vertebrates are one of the most diverse and successful groups of animals on the planet.  Modern vertebrates come in an astounding array of sizes and shapes and can be found anywhere from the deepest oceans to [&hellip... Read More


Display of the Earth's 'oldest forest' at NYSM

Episode 4: The fossil forests of Gilboa

Published on October 1st, 2012 | by Dave Marshall

A few days after the interview in the Royal Ontario Museum with Dave Rudkin on Isotelus rex, the Palaeocast team headed south to the New York State Museum (NYSM), Albany, USA. Here we got a chance [&hellip... Read More

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